The “Creative Industries” reports from Americans for the Arts are annual tallies of arts-centric businesses and arts-centric employees in communities. The “arts” in the Creative Industries are defined by 644 codes in the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system that was used in economic, business, and policy analysis for decades until the mid-1990s. SIC is a legacy system, as the NAICS or North American Industrial Classification System is more commonly used these days, including in many Local Arts Index indicators. The SIC system is detailed, with unique codes for specific business types, even those with relatively few of such enterprises. There are SIC codes for makers of both calliopes and accordions, for example. So, it was a relatively fine-grained system for distinguishing one business type from another. NAICS or North American Industrial Classification System is in common use nowadays, and has a broader brush, assigning one code to all musical instrument manufacturers. Click here for a list of SIC Creative Industries codes.

Dun & Bradstreet (D & B) is an information services company that gathers and reports information from the vast majority of American businesses and nonprofits, and still categorizes businesses them on the old SIC system. Some years ago, Americans for the Arts selected 644 SIC “arts-centric” codes to describe the “Creative Industries,” and D & B provides county-level tallies of these arts-centric organizations (both business and nonprofit) and their employment counts using SIC detail. AFTA reports these annually as its “Creative Industries” measure.

This indicator helps describe the weight of the arts sector in a community’s overall business population, or the arts slice of the business pie. It is the percentage of all businesses and nonprofits in a community that are arts-centric. This is not measured per capita, only within the population of all businesses tracked by D & B. Overall, it shows how competitive the arts are in the business sector of a community. This indicator is based on data gathered in 2014.

Additional Information: Counties with indicator value = 3,089. Average county indicator value = 2.33%. Median county indicator value = 2.11%.


Fast Facts from the Arts Index

Audiences are growing!

In 2010, 32 percent of the adult population attended a performing arts event (up from 28 percent in 2009); 13 percent visited an art museum (up slightly from 12 percent). These are the first increases since 2003.